As the UK’s most widely circulating wine publication, it was only a matter of time before Tesco Wine Magazine harnessed the power of digital publishing to reach more potential wine-lovers.

The wine magazine now joins Technology and Entertainment and the Food and Family Living digital versions of the supermarket’s popular editions.

Crisp, clean and fresh

The decision to digitise Tesco Wine Magazine was surely a no-brainer. The design of the print version lends itself perfectly to a classy digital conversion, with a clean colour scheme and high quality photographs coming together to present a beautiful reading experience.

tescowineAnimations and interactivity are used sparingly to add a little sparkle to selected articles; a blend many other modern publications have failed to achieve. The animated front cover showing a bottle of clear white wine being poured into a glass is a good example of this; it sets the scene for a high-quality wine magazine which takes the print cover one step further.

Simple illustrations with text that slides between layers give articles a ‘wow’ factor that demonstrates how much thought has gone into enhancing the print version for digital use.

A digital edition is an essential enhancement for a magazine which relies on up-to-date pricing and user recommendations to help sell its products. Tesco Wine presents numerous opportunities to do just this, with social media buttons and links to encourage involvement in their online Wine Community placed carefully throughout the articles.

In-app purchases and the ability to add wines straight to a shopping basket are key features. Although Tesco Wine contains informative articles about hosting wine tasting parties and selection secrets, it exists primarily to sell wine to both the amateur and the connoisseur. Although some readers may find the edition too similar to a flashy sales brochure, any wine featured can be bought in a few taps, making it one of the easiest buying paths I’ve seen in a digital magazine.

For readers who are less comfortable with digital magazines, Tesco Wine has added plenty of directions to help explore its interactive features. It also features a comprehensive  ‘How to use this app’ guide at the front of the edition; one of the more user-friendly ‘How to’ guides I’ve seen in a digital magazine. ‘Taster notes’ are hidden behind symbols which de-clutter the design, bringing the focus back to the images without compromising the content.

Missed opportunities

phoneSadly, all the sunshine in the world won’t sweeten the mobile version of this magazine. On an iPad (and no doubt Tesco’s own Hudl), the text is readable, everything flows properly and generally looks slick. The problems come when the magazine is opened on a smaller device.

Although Tesco Wine should definitely be awarded points for making the magazine available across multiple platforms, when opened on a phone it stubbornly retained not just its dimensions, but its font size as well. Only a fairy would be able to enjoy the edition without squinting.

Tablets are spreading rapidly, but phone ownership will be far ahead for many years to come, and if it weren’t for the tiny font, there are articles in the magazine I would save to my phone and take to the supermarket with me whilst wine-hunting. Older people are no doubt likely to enjoy the magazine and make up a significant portion of the target market, and the lack of font resizability is therefore an oversight in this area.

The issue is also very clunky on the Android platform. Tesco Wine has fallen into the trap of being taken in by the glossy offerings of iPad-friendly publishing solutions, whilst compromising the experience for non-iOS users: unfortunately they are not the first digital magazine to do so either.

Time to ripen

There is a lot of potential for the magazine to develop further in both its content and usability. In the next issue, I’d like to see more articles with a ‘Help to Choose’ focus for those of use who are less wine-savvy and with limited time to browse the full magazine. This could include flowcharts which narrow down the excessive wines listed, to just a few which would complement the food.

It would also be interesting to learn more about the sources of some of the wines: picture galleries and interactive maps could bring this alive far better than the print magazine.

Overall, Tesco Wine has undergone an impressive and imaginative translation from print to digital, and a lot of care has gone into making the reading experience sleek and easy to use. There are definitely some cross-platform issues that need addressing, and the content in some places could be more detailed and less commercial. This would then widen the readership through device compatibility and richer content.

It’s important to remember that this is only the first of Tesco Wine’s digital editions, and hopefully they will seek to iron out the issues over time. Definitely one to watch.

Design:
★★★★☆

Navigation:
★★★★☆

Content:
★★★☆☆

Compatibility:
★★☆☆☆

‘Wow’ factor:
★★★☆☆

 Experience Tesco Wine Magazine for yourself. Download the free app for Apple or Android.

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